This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is now up here. Topline results are CON 30%, LAB 41%, LD 12%, UKIP 12%, so again suggesting that the budget has had no significant effect on voting intention (though as I’ve said before, that’s isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the government. In recent years budgets have more often had negative effects on government support, so it should perhaps be seen less as an positive opportunity missed, than a pitfall avoided).

The Budget

There is little change in people’s attitudes towards the economy, the overwhelming majority still think the economy is in a bad state and very few expect their finances to improve in the next year. Confidence in the government’s ability to deal with the economy has ticked up very slightly… but not by much. 33% say they have a lot or some confidence in the government’s economic ability (up from 29% last week), 24% think the government’s economy strategy has started to work or soon will (up from 19% last week).

Looking more specifically at the budget, only 19% think it will be good for the economy, 25% bad for the economy with 40% thinking it will have no effect either way. Asked how it will affect them personally 30% of people think they will be worse off compared to only 10% who think they personally will be better off.

YouGov also asked who people thought had benefitted or suffered from this year’s budget – the biggest winners were seen as people trying to buy a home (39%) and rich people (36%), followed by small businesses (22%), big business, people in low paid jobs and working parents (all on 19%). I suspect the government would be quietly pleased if people went away with the perception that the budget was one that helped people trying to buy a home or run a small business if it wasn’t accompanied by the continued perception that it was helping the rich. In contrast the people who are seen as suffering from the budget are public sector workers (24%), people on benefits (22%), people in low paid jobs (18%) and stay at home parents (18%).

On specific measures, the increase in the personal allowance has extremely wide support – 89% are in favour. The mortgage guarantees are supported by 50% with 28% opposed. The reduction in beer duty, despite being seen as crowd pleasing measure actually produced mixed feelings. 41% of people were supportive, 42% opposed.

Finally, the budget does seem to have tempered hostility towards George Osborne slightly. A week ago only 17% wanted him to remain as Chancellor and 51% wanted him replaced. The figures now are 27% stay and 46% go.

Press regulation

YouGov also asked about the new system of press regulation, finding people broadly supportive. Overall 52% of people support it, 23% are opposed. There are similar splits on whether it is threat to press freedom (27% think it is, 53% think it is not) and whether it is right that newspapers who do not join the regulator should face larger damages (55% think they should and 23% think they should not). People are much more divided over whether the system will actually work – 40% think it will help stop intrusive and unethical behaviour by the press, but almost as many (37%) think it will not.


Last night we also had the fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer. Topline figures there were CON 28%(+1), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 16%(-1), though fieldwork was conducted partly before the budget. The poll also asked what result people expected from the next election – 25% expect a Labour majority, only 9% a Conservative majority, 45% another hung Parliament (two thirds of which expect Labour to lead the subsequent government).

A note for polling pedants, as far as I can tell from the question text in the graphic the Observer’s headline “54% of voters expect Ed Miliband to be next Prime Minister” is not true. Opinium seem to have asked which party people expected to form the government after the next election, which is a slightly different question. People could expect a difference Conservative MP before the general election, or expect Labour to win under a different leader… but more importantly, people may well have answered the question differently if they had asked who will be Prime Minister after the next election. Logically unless people think the two main party leaders might change before 2015 the two answers should be the same… but as we have seen again and again, that is not the way answers to polls actually work.

179 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 30, LAB 41, LD 12, UKIP 12”

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  1. @ Colin

    In absence of emoticons I couldn’t indicate the tongue in cheek. Unfortunately, it didn’t come out in my words. Apologies – I really meant it as a kind of agreement, but with some expansion and light heartedness.

  2. Hmmm. wonder what the offending words are that sent me into automod…

  3. @Colin
    “it seems to have caused upset on the real Left.”

    Not sure what you mean by ‘real’ Left. It is not about being left or right. I think it has upset a lot of people who believe the Government should create some real jobs and training instead of demotivating and demoralising people and the Opposition should be putting pressure on the Government to do so. It is also a retrospective legislation which is generally regarded to be a bad thing.

  4. @ Bigfatron

    “Cypriot banks offering infeasibly high interest rate to attract and retain Russian-sourced money”

    It wasn’t particularly high, though probably the highest in the euro zone. But since they could lend to Greece with rather high interest rate + for real estate in Cyprus until the last 6 months, it seemed like a good idea…

  5. I am not talking about high value properties but all property and land in the UK

  6. “Given how easy it is to have your income treated as taxed in Russia (corruption in the tax system is endemic) this means Cyprus is the preferred conduit for middle sized Russian entrepreneurs to move money out of Russia without paying tax.”

    In the end of the 1990s, because our researchers had to be paid in Russia and because of the regulations on how universities can pay contract researchers outside of the UK, I had to make it possible to open bank accounts for Russians in a well-known, now partially state owned bank in one of the lovely islands between the UK and France. No questions were ever asked and the accounts were opened.

  7. @DAVEM

    How much does stamp duty raise? If you required the seller to also pay stamp duty then that would double the amount.

  8. People’s Assembly is nothing more than a Pressure Group by all accounts, attempting to unite anti-austerity groups under one umbrella. If you look at the list of signatures here:

    h ttp://

    it includes even Communist Party leaders, but is mainly Trade Unions and those on the left of the labour party.

    Of course we all know how great the left are at uniting so we’ll see, but it seems an attempt at pressuring the Labour party (the media?) from the Left rather than the Right.

    I would think it’s fair to say that Labour Leadership generally see’s itself influenced to move more to the centre to “gain” votes even though, if looking at the figures, Labour lost 5 million votes between 1997 and 2010, whilst the Tories only gained a million more.

  9. Actually the Russian “investment” in Cyprus is rather more complicated. Not all of it is deposit to hide from the taxman.

    A substantial large proportion was for buying up assets both in the Balkans through Cyprus (with Greek intermediaries) to avoid discriminatory legislations. They also financed some interesting Russian investment in Italy (not criminal).

  10. Say 20 Million properties at 150,000 each that is £30Trillion pound at 105 tax bring in £3 Trillion, this clears the debt reducing revenue expenditure on interest payments.

    It also hits the rich hardest as you can not hide property. Withe figures (however rough) suggested here you could even have a tax free element of the propery value hence protecting those with low cost housing.

    I know it is far to simple, however simple some times works.

    The electorate would never agree as the Daily Mail and others would would run death tax headlines as they did when we had sensible suggesttions on the funding of long term care , but thats the beauty of a free press!

  11. @DaveM

    I think you’d have to exempt primary residences or houses below a certain value, otherwise the housing market would be completely killed by a tax that raised anything useful.

    Stamp Duty is long overdue a reform. It already distorts the market in a pretty substantial way (ever tried to sell a house for e.g. .£520,000?). It wouldn’t be hard to adjust it to remove the cliff edges and at thje same time raise more cash, without impacting on the market significantly.

  12. @ LizH

    The centre right of the Labour Party have Progress & Movement for Change, originally headed by David Miliband although I’ve not heard much about that for a while.

    The article which you’ve linked to in the Independent is a multi-party, left of centre organisation intended to do the same kind of thing as Progress/Movement for Change but more effectively.

    The participants care very much about the rise of populist, regressive parties here & in Europe; somebody has to provide an active, campaigning alternative. We are, IMO, fortunate that it is democratic unions, together with some elected MPs, who are stepping in to provide it.

  13. @ DaveM

    I can tell you, the vast majority wouldn’t be able (or wouldn’t) pay this tax. Anyway, having a 10.5% asset tax sounds a wee bit high. It would be easier to confiscate the properties and collect rent…

  14. The Cyprus problem is not over, and I do think it is going to cause problems for the EURO and the EU, there will be consequences for the actions taken in Cyprus, the simple consequences will be no money in the banks as people EU wide withdraw, large savers will almost certainly do this.

    One of the other consequences is retribution… short term or long term this is not going to be forgotten…

    Tit for tat is the usual, so I would expect countries like Russia to respond with this kind of action.

    “09.21 The Sun’s Steve Hawkes is reporting that the Kremlin plans on “freezing assets” of German companies in Russia as payback for the bailout deal.”

  15. @ Amber

    I happen to agree with your description of the People’s Assembly – well, in a way. On the one hand I understand the unions why they subscribe to this radicalised philistine (oxymoron) agenda, but they should have more caution.

    But there is no way it could split the left in my view (especially as it’s “programme” isn’t leftist – anti-austerity is not leftist).

  16. DAVEM.

    No one who is toying with this Property tax has yet addressed my key point; Taxing a asset will depress the price and therefore the tax take.

    If you put 10% on the sale of house worth £1m regardless of who pays seller or purchaser the house will no longer be worth £1m.

    If it was valued at £1m you now have to pay £1.1m or the seller has to drop his price to £0.9m. As prices and sales volumes drop so does the tax take as it is based on both.

    It also hits the construction industry because as both prices and demand falls so does the profit to be made so they will build fewer houses.

    A mansion tax only works if people are buying selling and building mansions for mansion prices. Be careful not to kill the golden goose.

    I am a left winger and am all for equality and left of centre policies but unlike many on the left I can also count.

    “I know it is far to simple, however simple some times works.”

    Very rarely, more often people plump for simple because they want and hope simple will work.

    That’s how we end up with Reagan and Bush, we don’t want to listen to those who explain why it’s difficult to get out of the mess so wevote for some hick Forest Gump.


  17. @ ToJim

    I read it and for a minute I considered it possible. But Russia and Germany are far too interlinked to sacrifice anything for Cyprus… And afterall (officially) it wasn’t an anti-Russian move. Cyprus is not worth a trade war with the EU for Russia (now nationalising Kensington…).

    The whole thing would have been better presented if the interest of shareholders would have been written off first (before the depositors), then all the depositors and then compensating the under 100,000 (what a magic number).

    There could be a flight of capital from the Eurozone, but so far the money from Cyprus went to Latvia (now that’s a good candidate for the next bailout).

  18. @Amber Star

    I am hoping this pressure group is not just an alternative campaign vehicle against the populist, regressive parties but also a group that keeps the pressure on the Labour Party so it does not return to its NuLab ways. Labour allowing a retrospective legislation to come into place has disappointed me somewhat and I hope that the Party will explain to its members why it felt it had to do so.

  19. Just a thought on the Mair/Johnson interview on Marr yesterday. When I heard at the beginning of the programme that the guests were to be Salmond, Johnson and Danny Alexander, I have to say that my pulse remained stubbornly resistant to being raced. Still, I gave it a go and while the cricket on Sky eventually drew me away from the Alexander set piece, I stuck with it for the Salmond and Johnson interviews and, certainly in Johnson’s case, eventually received my hilarious award. It was indeed the stuff of political car crashes and I was left completely baffled as to why Johnson, normally so adept at these interchanges, allowed himself to walk on to the succession of deftly disguised punches that Mair had in store for him.

    My only conclusion is that either he just had an appallingly bad day at the office or, more worryingly for his admirers, the mask is slowly slipping and the faux self-deprecation is losing it’s power to enchant.

    The stiletto blow from Mair in my view came after he’d tackled Johnson about the long standing allegations relating to the fabrication of a quote in a newspaper article, the lies he’s supposed to have told to Michael Howard about extra-marital affairs and the assistance he has been accused of giving to a friend to arrange for a mutual contact to be beaten up. Mair concluded; “You’re not a very nice piece of work, are you?”

    This may be the question that haunts Johnson for the rest of his political career.

  20. @ PeterCairns

    Very sound – thank you.


    Glad you did.

    Not having something useful to say isn’t a constraint for most of us here. !

  22. Robin

    -I am in the sin bin so often that I have my own seat!

    Regarding a property tax a good start would be higher council tax bands than the current maximum based on a property value in England which is £320,000

    Apparently there are over 5 Million properties in the
    UK worth more than this.

    Over 300,000 more than £1 million.

  23. @Steve

    “Regarding a property tax a good start would be higher council tax bands”

    Yes, the council tax was always intended to be a regressive tax, just not as regressive as the poll tax. Labour should have grasped the nettle in the first or second parliament and completely reformed it, with a full revaluation and restructuring it so that there was no banding, just valuations based on land registry data and most recent sale prices. That would have made annual revaluation automatic, but while property stayed in the same hands there would be no disincentive for maintenance, improvements and extensions.

    Most importantly, owners of expensive houses would pay their full share. (Little old ladies living in the house they’ve lived in for 40 years are an argument for special treatment, not a completely different system.)

  24. The problem with inheritance tax is that it’s so easily avoidable altogether.

    I think a better system to mansion tax/inheritance tax would be to abolish both of the former, and instead, (really) heavily tax second/third etc. homes. They not only inflate prices, they take up space, make our towns and villages deserted etc. If they put a really high tax rate on them, it would really discourage the purchase (and use) of multiple properties with all but the richest, whilst not penalising those on only modest income in the southern half of the UK who have been responsible, own their own house but have seen the southern property market explode in recent decades.

    It’s a win-win.

  25. @PeterCairns

    “people plump for simple because they want and hope simple will work.”

    Yes except unfortunately the simple they get isn’t the type of simple they were looking for.

  26. It was interesting to watch Cockerell on DP , trying hard not to show how irritated he was that Mair had upstaged his precious Documentary on Boris.

    I enjoyed too the comment from Boris’ Deputy Mayor-Munira Mirza- that Cockerell had nothing new to tell us about Boris. That had him spluttering & waffling even more.

    I thought Mirza’s description of the Mair interview as ” not exactly Pulitzer Prize journalism” was deft .

    Putting aside Mair’s extraordinary remark to Boris-and Boris’ equally extraordinary failure to respond to it-it did show how unable Boris is to put aside the self deprecation for comedic effect which so endears him to so many, but which would make any attempt at statemanship in high office a disastrous failure.

    He demonstrated this congenital persona when giving his hair ruffling , bottom shifting, gaze averting, rugby scrum metaphor response to the question -do you want to be PM ?”

    When all that was required was a straight gaze, a straight face and ” Of course I bloody do-any serious politician does-but unlike Ed Miliband , I have no intention of stabbing anyone in the back to achieve it. We have a good Prime Minister already”.

  27. @ LizH

    Regarding the retrospective legislation, our MP was one of the 43 who voted against it.

    Regarding an explanation, Liam Byrne believed that he’d won important concessions from IDS. The concessions are an independent review of the DWP sanctions regime, including investigation of the allegations that job centres are being given quotas, rankings & ‘kudos’ for sanctioning people. Also, that anybody sanctioned will have access to [one assumes, free] legal advice.

    To be clear to anybody not following this in detail, Labour did not vote for the retrospective legislation, the whip’s position was to abstain but 43 MPs turned up & voted against.

  28. @ROBIN

    “Little old ladies living in the house they’ve lived in for 40 years are an argument for special treatment”

    Unless you are talking about the bedroom tax

  29. @ Lazslo

    But there is no way it could split the left in my view (especially as it’s “programme” isn’t leftist – anti-austerity is not leftist).
    I agree with you; if anything, it could be a unifying force rather than a divisive one.

  30. @Couper2802

    I’d lol if it wasn’t so sick.

  31. @ couper2802

    “Little old ladies living in the house they’ve lived in for 40 years are an argument for special treatment” Unless you are talking about the bedroom tax
    But little old ladies (& men, of course) ARE to have special treatment regarding the bedroom tax. Pensioners who receive housing benefit are exempt from the ‘tax’. Thereby undermining the argument that the ‘tax’ is intended to free up larger social houses for those who need more accommodation & supporting the assertion that it is a ‘tax’ on low paid workers & the unemployed!

  32. @Colin

    “We have a good Prime Minister already”.

    But Johnson doesn’t actually believe that, does he? He’s obviously not going to wield the knife through fear of failing to inherit the crown, but he’s let his supporters know that he’s been on manoeuvres for some time.

    I thought this was an interesting article in today’s Guardian, written by his biographer, Sonia Purnell. She’s no admirer, but has studied Johnson in some detail and it’s always interesting to hear a perspective from someone who isn’t a toadying hagiographer.

    By the way, you were a little bit harsh on Miliband, weren’t you? Challenged his brother in an open and democratic leadership contest and you think that’s “stabbing him in the back”? That’s more like stabbing him in the front! All David had to do was win a few more votes. He didn’t and lost and, as Bruce Reynolds would say, c’est la vie!

  33. Colin

    I understand that many on the flat-earth Right prefer the concept of primogeniture to slightly more modern approaches. Like winning elections on the rules under which they are held. Maybe that explains your obsession with the foul perfidy of EM?

  34. @ Colin
    “It was interesting to watch Cockerell on DP, trying hard not to show how irritated he was that Mair had upstaged his precious Documentary on Boris.I enjoyed too the comment from Boris’ Deputy Mayor-Munira Mirza- that Cockerell had nothing new to tell us about Boris. That had him spluttering & waffling even more.”

    I came to the opposite conclusion! I thought Cockerell was relaxed & v. pleased that his doco had received such a surge of publicity: [which will surely 2x its audience, the ultimate desideratum for a producer]. His response to the relaxed & engaging Mirza was straight-foward: it does say something new.

    Relativism is clearly not confined to the natural or indeed the social sciences. Perceptions are determined by the vantage point of the observer.

  35. For crying out loud, Colin suggested how Boris could have avoided a question by turning it round into an point scoring opportunity against his opponents, a very common technique (and certainly not actually thinking your leader is any good is no bar to praising them!). He didn’t express his own opinion, there’s no need to start a bloody partisan debate over it.

    As ever, if someone else does make a comment you think is partisan, ignore it, don’t rebut it. It takes two to have a partisan argument.

  36. @Anthony W

    Point taken and I hope you absolve me of any future allegations of partisanship as long as I qualify my comments by suggesting that they are accusations that could have been made by Mr X in response to Mr Y! lol

  37. If they are in the spirit of non-partisanship of course, if they are in a deliberate attempt to smuggle in silly party-partisanship of course not (people probably don’t want to make a deliberate attempt to test this out unless they enjoy being put on pre-moderation)

  38. CB11

    @”But Johnson doesn’t actually believe that, does he? ”

    He probably doesn’t.

    Yes-I was harsh-it wasn’t a necessary component of the response I would like Boris to have given ( as AW has just indicated !)

  39. AW
    The fault was mine.

    It was not intended to “start a debate” here, but was intended to emphasise how much I felt Boris’s response to that question fell short of the necessary & appropriate one.

    But it was bound to invite a response here, which I should have anticipated.

  40. @ Amber

    The reason why anti-austerity is not decisive is because nobody says why is the goal of it. It (the unstated goal) is, I think, one of the reasons for the Tories not getting OM and their about 30% support. If it was pronounced it would be the four main parties’ together ani-austerities against the rest.

  41. CB11

    Thanks for that Guardian article.

    It emphasises my feeling, that Boris doesn’t know how to respond to dislike or personal criticisms.

    I’m all for using humour to temper the wilder shores of political exchange- it is , however a neccessary but not sufficient weapon in the armoury of verbal exchange .

  42. I meant to type divisive not decisive – predictive mobile…

  43. @ Billy Bob
    Thanks for LE results link. Been trying to find one for a while. Although not conclusive, does look like UKIP are going to cause Tories damage at May elections. Their vote is going up significantly, Tories losing ground and Lab gaining, especially when they main challenger to LDems. Obviously not conclusive but could be a very bad night for DC . . .

  44. @Amberstar

    I think its important to highlight that Labour abstained on that legislation, albeit that I think they should have voted against. But even if every Labour MP had voted against, it would still have gone through.

    Part of the problem is that it was very badly handled. The concessions seem limited, and are invisible to many people, as we didnt get a feeling for what the bill would have been like without them. AS it is, better concessions would have been the opportunity to choose the work placement, or to ensure that the placement complemented the career path of the job seeker – so no sending geology graduates to poundland, for instance.

    Ultimately, why is the Government even trying to resolve a porgramme that is worse than nothing in terms of finding someone a job?

  45. @ Laszlo

    Yes, what comes after austerity has not been defined. How will it benefit ‘my’ personal economy? It is not clear.

    e.g. Where is the Eton for every child, if cuts to the education budgets & frozen pay for teachers will not be reversed?

  46. RiN

    A tweet from Sam Coates of The Times :-

    “Banking assets as % of GDP; 1 Ireland 826%, 2 Cyp 736%, 3 GBR 632% 4 FRA 414%, 5 NLD 404%


  47. @John Ruddy
    “even if every Labour MP had voted against, it would still have gone through.”

    That leads me to ask (and I would have thought Labour should have asked) why did the Government agree to a deal if it didn’t matter how Labour voted. The reason maybe they knew an abstention would send the wrong message to Labour supporters (i.e. Labour doesn’t disagree with the retrospective legislation).

  48. According to William Keegan in the Observer the structural deficit inherited by Labour in 1997 was the same as that inherited by the Coalition in 2010. Do any of the economic gurus on this site know a) whether the ‘structural deficit’ can be measured in a way which all sensible people can agree and if so b) i whether William Keegan is right and c) whether it has gone up or down to any noticeable degree since?

  49. @ John Ruddy

    I agree with your comment for the most part but I think that Labour should have made more effort to convince the LDs & DUP to vote against retrospective legislation & (as you say) legislation which enables a work placement scheme which seems to hinder people who are trying to find real jobs for themselves.

    I, along with many others, disagree with Byrne’s view that it was inevitable that the legislation would be passed; Labour should have worked harder to secure a no & at worst gone down fighting.

    Polling suggesting that 75% of the public support sanctions was mentioned. But, of course, there is no indication of how much they care.

    So, if the 25% who do not support sanctions are Labour & Liberal left who care very much about this issue & 25% who support are Tories who would never vote Labour & 50% don’t give it a passing thought except when they are polled about it, what then? Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that we will ever know for sure the salience of this issue so people must make their own guess as to whether Labour did their best on this or made a big mistake.

    Personally, I completely support my MP’s decision to vote against.

  50. NickP,

    It took that long..

    Foreign migrants wanting employment benefits would need to prove they were actively looking for work…..

    Everyone wanting unemployment benefits already has to prove they are actively looking for work, he’s announcing the reintroduction of an existing policy.


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